The Last Post

No, not mine, silly. The last Indian telegram will be sent on July 15th 2013 and we intend to be there to bid it adieu.It’s true STOP I’ve never sent a telegram STOP

News of my own entry in to this world was received by my father via telegram. It read, ‘Gayatri is born’. Similar moments that have defined history have been communicated via telegram – the sinking of the Titanic. the first detonation of the Hydrogen bomb, the US declaring war on Germany in 1917, for instance.

It has been reported that BSNL is making a colossal loss of Rs.300 to 400 crore on its telegraph service alone. Telegrams in India reached their peak in 1985 with 60 million telegrams being sent every year from 45,000 offices. Now only 75 such offices exist. After a 160 years in service, the telegram is to be silenced. The dot and dash communication, traditionally used to communicate both good and bad news quickly and with an economy of words, has been superseded by mobile phones, SMS and email.

News of the death of the telegram has sent many young people to BSNL offices to send their first and last telegrams. But you’ll be coughing up a pretty packet. They have revised the charges from Rs.3.50 to Rs.27. A man in Kerala spent Rs.180/- to send 4 telegrams in his bid to mark the historical departure of the telegram as a mode of communication.

Known for the brevity of the message, the art of wording a telegram cannot be undermined. The most brief telegram was sent by Oscar Wilde while he was in Paris to his publisher in England. Enquiring about the reception of his first book he sent this message, “?”, to which the publisher’s reply was, “!”. I am currently trying to compose a few memorable telegrams to send to people (who I hope will keep them) in the hope of possessing ones own bit of history. Any suggestions for great last words or if you’d like to receive a telegram on July 14th from the nonsense girl, do send me your address.

Till then: …. .. and -… -.– . =

Telegram declaring 13 days of mourning following Gandhiji's assasination

Telegram declaring 13 days of mourning following Gandhiji’s assassination

About nonsense girl

Galley slave, qualitative researcher working in development, married my best friend, writing about my life, my family, my dog, TV, Indian culture, astronomy and my garden.
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2 Responses to The Last Post

  1. ganesh Gopalakrishnan says:

    Dont count the chickens before they are hatched. Yesterday there was a big memo by corporates to not bury the ‘the last thanthi”

  2. Deepa says:

    Did you hear of the telegram sent by Charles Napier British Army’s CinC in India – he was supposed to have despatched to his superiors the short, notable message, “Peccavi”, the Latin for “I have sinned” (which was a pun on I have Sindh) – at the age of 60 he led the Army to Sindh to quell the local rebels and ended by conquering the province.

    Sadly, it was a made up story, but clever and amusing nevertheless. BTW why is the pun considered the lowest form of humour? I vote otherwise!

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